Brown Butter Blueberry Cobbler

This recipe is absolutely magical! Four-that’s right four- ingredients that suddenly become the most mouthwatering, sweetest cobbler I’ve ever tasted ! I was searching around online for a recipe where I could use my fresh blueberries (yay for summer season fruits!) and my extra box of yellow cake mix, after much searching I found kevin’s and amanda’s Brown Butter Blueberry Cobbler!

2014-08-19 23.20.16

This is another result of me trying to clear out my baking cabinet as I pack and prepare for a big move. (Plus I just wanted an excuse to buy vanilla ice cream.)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×11 pan (I definitely prefer a small pan for a thicker cobbler).

Like the original recipe says you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of fruit (blueberry, strawberry, peach, blackberry, etc.) imagine the possibilities! Fresh or frozen works!
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar – I definitely feel like this is optional, or less sugar would be good since the cake mix and ice cream will be very sweet already.

IMG_0339

The key to this particular cobbler is the first step: browning the butter (definitely check out the easy guide from kevin and amanda’s blog for an easy guide). This process gives the butter a rich, caramel-y flavor. Place the stick of butter in shallow, heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat. Stir, stir, stir until the liquid starts turning darker and you may start seeing brown bits start to form at the bottom.

IMG_0340

IMG_0342

Pour the whole bag of yellow cake mix into a heatproof  mixing bowl (don’t want your plastic mixing bowl to melt). Then slowly add the brown butter to the mix, whisk until you have a dry, crumbly mixture. This is your cobbler topping.

IMG_0343

Take your fruit and stir in the sugar if you want it extra sweet. Otherwise spread the fruit evenly at the bottom of the baking pan, spread the butter/cake crumble mixture on top. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes!!

IMG_0345

The cobbler is ready when the top is a toasty light brown and the fruit is bubbling. I know it’s tempting to just eat some right away after being teased by the smell for 40 minutes, but let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.

IMG_0346

IMG_0349

Serve with ice cream!

The cake crumble mixture is sweet and crunchy- the perfect texture combination with the creaminess of the ice cream and warm sweetness of the fruit! Sit out on your porch and enjoy some seconds!

IMG_0352

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Soon I will have to change my blog introduction to “Welcome to my (tiny) slightly larger kitchen! I am a social worker graduate student who works, lives, and plays studies in the amazing city of San Francisco Seattle!…”

Yes it’s true I’ve been busy preparing for a big out-of-state move and one of my biggest challenges will be to use up all the food and ingredients I have in the kitchen! I decided to make Jam Thumbprint cookies to bring to work.

IMG_0315

But I will confess- I had ulterior motives:  I needed to get rid of the jars of fruit jams/preserves in my fridge! 

2014-08-11 18.08.44

I don’t usually care for “regular” jams like Smuckers strawberry, but I have collected some pretty unique flavors: Lingonberry (with IKEA’s meatballs-SO good.)preserves, Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, Hawaiian Sun Pineapple Jam (gift from HI), and locally-made Blue Chair Strawberry-Blood Orange Jam with Rosemary (so good with fancy cheese).

2014-08-11 18.09.49

The cookie base is your standard butter cookie recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup jam of your choice

I excluded the sugar for rolling, because I definitely did not want any more sugar added to it and other versions of this recipe did not call for it.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt together.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer (I’d recommend the stand mixer if you have one unless you have really buff arms and powerful handmixer) whip the softened butter and sugar until it’s fluffy, for about 5 mins. Beat in the egg and vanilla until it’s just combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

I found the dough WAY too sticky and soft to roll, so I placed it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie scooper and place them about 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

IMG_0317

Here’s the fun part:

Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. I used the back of a clean measuring spoon for cleaner and more uniform indentations.

Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam. Be sure not to over fill with jam, it will melt while baking and spill over the cookies and it won’t look neat and pretty.

Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets.

2014-08-11 22.37.34-1

IMG_0319

IMG_0320

I made pineapple jam thumbprints, fig butter thumbprints, and strawberry-blood orange jam thumbprints! The butter cookie was rich, soft and not too sweet to balance out the flavors of the jam. Great with a cup of tea!

Baked Avocado Egg

Been seeing this really simply recipe on a lot of health fitness blogs and decided to try it. This combines two of my favorite foods: eggs and avocados! Google “baked avocado egg” and you get tons of different versions, but I decided to use PopSugar’s Paleo Powered Breakfast: Eggs Baked in Avocado- just to make sure I get the temp right and all that.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 spoon
  • 2 small ramekins/oven-proof bowls

1. Cut the avocado in half, scoop out the pit.

2. Scoop out some avocado flesh to make room for the egg- about 2 tablespoons

3. Place the avocado halves in ramekins with flesh side up, the small ramekins helps hold the raw egg in place without spilling.

4. Crack an egg into each of the avocado halves. Add a pinch of sea salt or pepper.

5. Bake in the oven at 425°F for 151-20 minutes until the egg looks solid.

6. Season with herbs, salsa, tabasco sauce, or whatever you’d like and ENJOY!

photo-4

Nutella Swirl Banana Bread

Ahh….Nutella. Pretty much a gift from the gods. The most wondrous thing about this stuff is that you can put it in almost anything: cake, cookies, fruits, toast. And it’s an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. I wanted to make something more than the usual home-comfort banana bread, so I used Cup of Jo’s Nutella Swirled Banana Bread recipe.

Not only did it taste divine, but pretty too.

2014-06-08 23.38.52I’ll have to work on my knife swirling next time.

2014-06-08 22.08.57I actually cut the recipe in half to make 1 loaf, but here is the original recipe:

  • 3 large or 4 medium (2 cups mashed) bananas, very ripe - for a 1 loaf I used just 2 bananas 
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk I used unsweetened organic soy milk 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. rum, optional
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

Prep work: preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the loaf pans with parchment paper and butter well- makes clean up a lot easier.

2014-06-08 22.13.05

Start by mashing up the bananas with a fork or whisk, mash it until you just have some small chunks left.

In a stand mixer: combine the 1 cup packed brown sugar + 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tablespoon rum.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture, just until smooth. Add the bananas and mix just until they are combined.

2014-06-08 22.31.31Here comes the fun part! Microwave 1/2 cup of Nutella in a small heatproof bowl for about 20 seconds to get it a little more like chocolate sauce. Drizzle about 2/3 cup of it into the banana bread batter.

2014-06-08 22.42.57

Do not mix it into the batter but gently fold the Nutella into the batter, using a spatula scoop under the batter and bring it back up, folding over the top- do it about 3-4 times. At this point if you are making 2 loaves, divide the batter evenly into the pans.

Take the remaining Nutella (honestly, add more of you want!!) and drizzle it in two straight vertical lines down the top of the batter, then run a knife through the lines horizontally to achieve the swirl effects. 2014-06-08 22.49.51

2014-06-08 22.50.55

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. After taking it out from the oven, let it cool for about 10 minutes. Gently lift out with the sides of the parchment paper and cut into thick slices. 2014-06-08 23.57.34The bread is actually not too sweet/sugary, it allows the naturally sweetness of the ripened bananas come out and the rich nutty flavors of the Nutella take center stage. Great with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Grab a slice for breakfast, afternoon tea or post-dinner dessert.

2 (okay more like 4) Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I’ve been wanting to try these “mug recipes” that pop up on my Facebook newsfeed- amazing meals and treats that you cook and eat in your friggin’ mug!! Good news for those college students in dorms! No excuses- all you have to do is mix and let your chef microwave do the work!

Plus- keeps the clean up to a minimum.

I borrowed this super-easy recipe from I Am a Food Blog: 2 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe. Doubling the recipe because I have a feeling I won’t be sharing!

2014-06-16 21.18.37First find a slightly larger microwavable mug (you want a bigger mug because the batter does rise and could spill over a little.)

Stir together 1 egg, 3 tablespoons of milk, 3 tablespoons of oil (coconut, vegetable, canola, etc.)

2014-06-16 21.28.39Mix in 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 cup sugar (I know it’s a LOT of sugar proportionally- so I’d say you can use less), 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir until well mixed. Lastly, add a splash of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Give it a few good stirs.

2014-06-16 21.28.49Depending on your microwave’s power-you’ll “bake” it in there for 2-4 minutes. I had to do 4 minutes because I have a dinky cheap microwave (that I need to clean…..I know I know.) At 2 minutes it still looked really softed, so I left it in longer. It was pretty firm, so maybe next time 3- 3 1/2 minutes would have been good too. Place a plate underneath to ensure no messy spillage in the microwave.

2014-06-16 21.36.31There it is, my first mug cake! It’s hot, definitely use mitts and let it cool for 5 minutes.

2014-06-16 21.52.48Enjoy it any way you like, this is a very basic chocolate cake you can eat straight from the mug with a spoon. Or you can jazz it up in all sorts of ways. Consider adding:

  • sprinkles (can’t go wrong with sprinkles)
  • whip cream
  • a scoop of ice cream
  • caramel sauce
  • banana slices/ fruit
  • nutella
  • walnuts
  • bacon bits
  • sea salt
  • All of the above.

2014-06-16 21.51.49It falls out pretty easily from the mug if you want to put it on a plate. It’s almost like an upside-down cake with the melted chocolate chips that fell to the bottom giving the top an extra creamy sweetness. The cake is very dense and fudgy. I’m so intrigued by the idea baking with oven-alternatives!

2014-06-16 21.53.11-1All good things come to those who wait, but no need to wait long for chocolate cake!

(Super) Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Protein Brownies

Thought I’d kickoff this month with this super-healthy recipe that will rock your taste buds. June means summer and summer means getting in shape and you can’t do that with regular sugar-ladened brownies (well at least I can’t). I’m on a no-additive-sugar kick for the past few weeks, but last night I was kind of dying and looking for ways to cheat. I stumbled upon Ambitious Kitchen’s 100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Protein Brownies- and they were the answer to my prayers.

Yes, I know the chocolate chips probably have sugar.

2014-06-01 21.31.02The true miracle here was that I just so happen to have all the ingredients I needed including the raspberries (freshly bought before I intended to make these brownies), whey powder, agave nectar and coconut oil. These aren’t things I lot of people just have stocked up in their kitchens I assume.

You will need:

  • 8×8 square pan, greased (or use parchment paper)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats + blender (or oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Whey vanilla or chocolate powder (I got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (which I didn’t have but I used a nice ripe banana instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey (replacement: agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or soy milk should be fine)
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons for later)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (rip in halves or pieces)

Preheat the oven for 350 F. Put the oats in a blender and blend for 45 sec to 1 min: instant oat flour! Cool beans.

2014-06-01 21.42.55Mix the oat flour with the cocoa powder and whey powder. Set aside.

2014-06-01 21.45.11Blend the wet ingredients well: mashed banana (or your apple sauce), egg, agave, vanilla extract and milk.

2014-06-01 21.45.25In a microwaveable bowl: heat up the chocolate chips with the coconut oil for about 45 seconds. The coconut oil looks like water, but don’t worry keep stirring and it blends well together.

2014-06-01 21.50.59Combine the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and then lastly, add the melted chocolate: blend blend blend away!

2014-06-01 21.52.23Pour into your prepared pan and arrange the raspberry pieces on top and sprinkle the extra chocolate chips on top.

2014-06-01 21.55.48

 

I’m not the biggest fan of raspberries, but these beautiful red gems make a HUGE difference in taste and texture with the finished product. The raspberry provides an extra tartness that brings out the very very (very!) subtle sweetness of the brownies.

2014-06-01 21.58.55

 

Bake for about 22-27 minutes and then take out to cool. I baked it for an extra 5 minutes than the original recipe because I wasn’t sure if the brownies were suppose to be that soft- I got a little worried that I did not bake them long enough. The extra 5 minutes firmed up the brownies a bit more.

2014-06-01 22.43.50The texture is definitely very similar to gluten-free or flourless desserts: very fudge-y and dense. I have to admit when I first bit into one I was like, it’s not sweet at all!!! Ugh! But I guess that’s what happens when I’m so used to eating lots of high-sugar foods. I really had to take a moment to find the subtle sweetness from the chocolate chips and agave. Mmmmm!

2014-06-01 22.43.36Remember to store these in a air-tight container and in the fridge. I have to warn you: these do taste super-healthy. It’s not going to taste like a Betty-Crocker brownie and have 100 calories: the world doesn’t work that way. But I definitely learned to appreciate these and since they are full of protein I can feel less guilty nibbling on one of these post-workout! Happy baking!

Mochi Brownies

2014-05-03 21.16.51

For a delicious brownie recipe with a twist, this Mochi Brownie recipe from justJENN is awesome! The best part was most of the ingredients are staples found in the kitchen with the exception of a few gems you’ll have to venture out for like the Mochiko sweet rice flour and evaporated milk.

I was pretty excited for another chance to make a sweet treat with Mochiko again after I made the Blueberry Mochi Cake that I still get requests for!

Start of with:

  • 1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

With the stickiness of mochi, parchment paper is your best friend. For extra ease of serving and clean up – butter the parchment paper and fit it to a square 8×8 pan.

2014-05-03 21.25.31

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Melt the 4 Tbls of butter + 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (save the other half for later) on slow heat- keep stirring so you don’t burn the chocolate. Just has it’s all smooth and melted, remove from heat and set aside.

2014-05-03 21.30.11

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients together: mochiko, sugar, baking soda and salt.

*I actually only added 1/2 cup of sugar to reduce the sweetness and make it ever-so-slightly healthier. I think the chocolate will be plenty sweet enough.

2014-05-03 21.30.16

Slowly pour in the warm chocolate mixture into the dry ingredient bowl, then mix in the evaporated milk, vanilla, and egg. Add the egg at the end so the mixture has a real chance to cool from the milk or else the heat might cook the egg.

2014-05-03 21.38.28Once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour into the pan. Lastly sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the pan. Then bake for about 35-40 minutes.

2014-05-03 21.40.44

The brownies came out wonderfully moist and with the mochi- extra chewy! The texture is definitely not the usual “cakey” or fudgey brownies. And I was right, the brownies were sweet but not too sweet with the perfect amount of chocolatey goodness- no real need for that extra 1/2 cup of sugar.

2014-05-03 22.27.56

2014-05-03 22.44.56Great to share at a party…..or eat by yourself while watching “Sex and the City”. hehe.